Agenda item

Interim Update - Workforce Workstream

NHS Leads for the Workforce Workstream will provide the Joint Committee with a presentation on the above.


Ian Renwick advised that he was Co-Chair of the Workforce Workstream, alongside Amanda Hulme.


Ian advised that he would be attending the Joint Committee meeting in June to provide a full update in relation to the workstream. However, at this stage Ian was able to advise that the workstream was one of three key planks in the STP. This is due to recognition that there are a number of challenges in areas such as recruitment where there are difficulties in relation to recruitment and retention of GP’s and in areas of hospital based care.


Ian stated that these challenges are borne out by recent statistics which highlighted that nationally and locally this is the first year where many more nurses have left the NHS than joined. Within the NHS there are also issues in relation to the employment of locums and agency staff. There are also huge pressures on adult social care as a result of a number of years of austerity which means that for ADASS workforce is also a key area of focus and where the challenges are similar. As a result, ADASS are developing a three year workforce strategy. The aim is to dovetail both areas of work.


Ian advised that together the NHS and ADASS are actively engaging their key workforces.


Ian advised that the Social Partnership Forum brings together NHS employers and Unions and is the route for employers to share information. Going forwards the Forum will be a mechanism for consultation on key service pathways. Ian advised that at the last meeting of the Social Partnership, representatives from local authorities also attended.


A workforce summit was also held on 24 February and the key issues challenges and opportunities highlighted were as follows:-


·         Innovation and quality improvement are subordinate to daily fire fighting and crisis management

·         Demand, specialisation, reducing numbers of trainees, staff retirement and the intensity of modern working practice 

·         A reliance on expensive locum and agency staff  is making the existing configuration of services unsustainable

·         The workforce is fragmented in silos and divided by organisational and professional boundaries

·         Social care shares similar challenges and is under significant pressure due to Local Authority budget cuts

·         There is huge untapped potential in the community and voluntary sectors – but this too requires investment and development


Group discussions were held in the context of a Cumbria / North East approach and work was carried out to identify potential quick wins. For example it was noted that a lot of back office functions are similar across sectors. Work also focused on potential new ways of working with the NHS and local government. Consideration is also being given to the greater portability of skills and how these might influence integration. In terms of recruitment and retention work is also focusing on sustainable ways of working. An example of this can be seen in the work relating to trainee GPs. Northumbria Healthcare has led on a project called Find Your Place which was a collaborative marketing campaign aimed at newly qualified doctors coming out of medical school with a view to attracting them to positions in the North East. All Trusts in the North East came together as part of a partnership Health Education North East and contributed 10k each to showcase the strengths of the North East and that it meets 15 out of the 17 GMO survey. The campaign has led to a 9% increase in trainees coming to the North East and will lead to fewer locums needing to be used. The return on investment for the campaign is estimated at three quarters of a million pounds and the campaign is being refreshed for 2018-19 with the commitment of all trusts.


Councillor Taylor queried whether there was any information on the impact of Brexit on the numbers of EU nationals who have left the NHS since the referendum or reductions in applications for posts in the NHS.


Ian advised that he did not have that information today but would look to bring some information on this to the next meeting.


Councillor Taylor noted that training for staff was crucial and needed to be appropriately funded going forwards. Ian agreed and also noted that they would be looking to assess the impact of the withdrawal of bursaries for nurses.


Councillor Schofield stated that she was unclear as to what was meant by the phrase the “whole workforce” and asked that a definition be provided. Councillor Schofield also considered that there should be opportunities for shared training across the health and social care workforce which would be a real culture shift. Ian agreed and stated that this should also include Continual Professional Development (CPD). Ian agreed to provide a clearer definition in relation to the workforce at the next meeting.


Ian advised that they would soon be appointing a Strategic Lead for Workforce. Ian considered that there was likely to be even more momentum in relation to the Workstream following this appointment.


Councillor Mendelson noted that the Joint Committee was keen to see that the Trade Unions are being engage and involved in the Workforce Workstream and queried whether this was happening.


Ian confirmed that engagement with the trade unions was taking place via the Social Partnership Forum and that trade union representatives had attended the Workforce Summit in February.